Innovative Gadgets

Path of Flowers, Hyperdrama, Science Fiction and extra


On this installment of What We’re Listening To, Engadget writers and editors talk about a number of the current music releases we have had on repeat. It is secure to say there’s some selection on this listing.

Sierra Ferrell appears virtually like an anachronism in 2024, however in the absolute best method. She has this easy, old-timey nation fashion that’s at factors paying homage to the likes of The Carter Household or Flatt and Scruggs (her good covers of songs as soon as carried out by the latter duo are completely seared into my mind), and it’s simply so refreshing. Path of Flowers, Ferrell’s second studio album, toes a bit additional right into a extra fashionable sound, however it maintains this deeply Americana really feel that simply appears to roll off the West Virginia-born artist so naturally.

Nation music isn’t only one factor, and neither is Path of Flowers. It meanders via totally different flavors — people, bluegrass, hints of jazz — however it manages to take action in a method that feels cohesive when it’s all taken collectively. The wistful “American Dreaming” and “Want You Nicely” are offset by sillier, whimsical numbers like “I Might Drive You Loopy” or the deep lower cowl, “Chitlin’ Cookin’ Time in Cheatham County.” Tracks like “Cash Practice,” “I’ll Come Off the Mountain” and “Lighthouse” are immediately catchy. “Why Haven’t You Liked Me But” and “No Letter” really feel like classics within the making.

After which there’s the cheekily sinister, scorned-lover’s lament, “Rosemary.” It’s one of many songs that first received me hooked on Sierra Ferrell years in the past, as I think about is the case for lots of followers who’ve adopted Ferrell’s profession since her busking days or her unforgettable GemsOnVHS performances. I used to be virtually nervous to listen to it on Path of Flowers, with a full manufacturing, after loving the uncooked, stripped-down recording I’ve been replaying on YouTube for thus lengthy. However they’ve performed a phenomenal job of capturing that magic, and “Rosemary” could also be my favourite monitor on the album. It’s exhausting to choose, although.

Someday early final 12 months, I found one thing I didn’t notice was lacking from my life: medieval fantasy doom steel. I used to be at a present on the gloriously trippy Brooklyn Made watching an opener forward of the band I’d gone there to see, and unexpectedly discovered myself witness to an on-stage choreographed sword struggle (effectively, there was a scythe concerned too) between a girl in chainmail and somebody carrying a hooded rat masks and lingerie. I’d already been enraptured by the band’s heavy, immersive riffs and the singer’s hypnotic Nineteen Seventies-esque vocals, however in that second, yeah, issues actually clicked into place. This was my introduction to Fortress Rat, and it was a rattling good one.

I’ve been eagerly awaiting the discharge of their debut album ever since, and from the second it dropped final month — an LP known as Into the Realm — I’ve just about been taking part in it on a nonstop loop. It will truly be embarrassing should you had been to test the variety of instances I’ve listened to the album’s standout ballad, “Cry For Me.” It’s a haunting, emotional track that actually takes you on a journey and I’m a bit obsessive about it. Into the Realm opens sturdy with the boppy “Dagger Dragger,” and a few actual heavy-hitters comply with in tracks like “Feed the Dream,” “Recent Fur” and “Nightblood.” “Pink Sands” is a slow-building powerhouse, and I’ve even discovered myself loving the three roughly minute-long instrumental interludes that tie the entire album collectively.

Doom bands love a very good theme (as do I), and we are likely to see plenty of weed, witchcraft, science fiction and fantasy pop up all through the subgenres that fall beneath this umbrella. Fortress Rat undoubtedly isn’t the primary to have a shtick, however there’s a sure freshness to the band’s much more particular, self-described medieval fantasy model, maybe as a result of they decide to it so exhausting. Their ‘70s and ‘80s influences are apparent, but every thing they’ve put out to date nonetheless feels unique. Some individuals may discover the entire thing gimmicky, however I feel it’s working. Particularly since they’ve the chops to again it up. I’m excited to see the place Fortress Rat goes from right here.

Woman with No Face, Allie XOne other track I’ve been listening to an embarrassing quantity as of late is Bizarre World, off Allie X’s newest album, Woman with No Face. I one way or the other haven’t drained myself of it but, it makes me go completely feral. Woman with No Face is filled with synth-pop gems, like “Off With Her Tits” — a dancey, angsty anthem positive to resonate with anybody who has skilled dysphoria round their physique picture — “John and Johnathan,” “Black Eye” and “Staying Energy.”

Membership Shy, Shygirl That is only a assortment of straight-up bangers. It’s not even 16 minutes lengthy, however it actually hits. Should you want an prompt mood-elevator forward of an evening out, this album is it.

Stampede: Quantity 1, Orville Peck Orville Peck’s first launch in his fringeless period is a duets album, the primary a part of which was launched on Friday and options artists together with Willie Nelson, Noah Cyrus and Elton John. I haven’t had a lot time to spend with Stampede: Quantity 1 but, however I’m into it to date. “Conquer the Coronary heart” ft. Nathaniel Rateliff and “How Far Will We Take It?” with Noah Cyrus really feel like they mix one of the best components of Pony (2019) and Bronco (2022). Bronco got here in two waves, so I anticipate we’ll see a Quantity 2 for Stampede earlier than lengthy, too.

— Cheyenne MacDonald, Weekend Editor

At any time when I hear the phrases “banger” or “bop,” I don’t take into consideration artists like Taylor Swift. I take into consideration the nebulous musical style referred to as bed room pop. Bop, in spite of everything, is correct there within the title. Hannah Jadagu is a bed room pop wizard of the best order. Her first EP was made fully on an previous iPhone and nonetheless slaps, although she has since graduated to actual recording studios. Jadagu’s newest full-length on Sub Pop, Aperture, is full of each bangers and bops, and my favourite is the lovelorn “Say It Now.” Hearken to this factor. It simply will be the excellent pop track and is totally crying out for some highway journey singalongs. The shoegaze-adjacent “What You Did” is one other basic and could be at house on any first rate summer time playlist.

— Lawrence Bonk, Contributing Reporter

Justice’s first full-length launch Cross from 2007 is one in every of my favourite albums of all time. Not solely did it outline the crunchy digital sound of the weblog home period within the late 2000s and early 2010s, it additionally felt like a brand new French duo had picked up the place Daft Punk left off following 2005’s Human After All. Now Justice is again with its fourth album in Hyperdrama. However as a substitute of being impressed by a selected style of music like we heard in Audio, Video, Disco’s stadium rock tracks or Lady’s disco-fueled beats, this album feels extra just like the soundtrack to a moody sci-fi thriller, virtually as if that is Justice’s alternate actuality tackle the Tron: Legacy soundtrack.

“Generator” is a licensed banger and possibly the track that sounds essentially the most like basic Justice. “Neverender” and “One Night time/All Night time” are additionally highlights, although I feel Justice might have leaned a bit too closely on Tame Impala to offer this album character. “Pricey Alan” delivers tremendous clean vibes and Thundercat makes a pleasant look and finishes issues sturdy in “The Finish.”

The one factor I actually miss is at the least one really danceable monitor like we received on all the band’s earlier albums. I additionally need to admit that a number of the songs within the center mix collectively in a less-than-memorable method. So whereas Hyperdrama isn’t the top-to-bottom masterpiece that Cross was a decade and a half in the past, extra Justice isn’t a nasty factor.

— Sam Rutherford, Senior Reporter

Over the previous few weeks, I’ve largely been listening to songs from Science Fiction, the primary best hits album by J-Pop artist Utada Hikaru. I have been a fan since they launched their debut album First Love again in 1999, when individuals had been much more prone to be weirded out by the truth that sure, you may get pleasure from music with lyrics in a language you do not perceive. Utada has been out and in of the J-Pop scene since then, and there have been lengthy stretches of time once I would not hear something about them. Each new music drop is a present, particularly this album, because it’s tied to an upcoming live performance tour, which they solely do as soon as in a blue moon.

Utada skilled a resurgence in 2022 when their songs “First Love” and “Hatsukoi” — which additionally interprets to “past love” — had been featured in a success Japanese drama sequence on Netflix known as (you guessed it) First Love. These tracks are, after all, in Science Fiction, which additionally contains songs from numerous factors in Utada’s profession.

The album will take you on a journey from after they largely wrote R&B-inspired pop to an period when their music grew to become extra experimental, and it’ll introduce you to their present sound, which is each mainstream and distinctive. Whereas a number of the re-recorded variations of their older songs like “Touring” do not fairly hit the mark, it is nonetheless a very good illustration of who Utada is as a musician. As a long-time fan, although, this album is not only a assortment of songs to me, however a group of reminiscences from totally different levels of my life.

— Mariella Moon, Contributing Reporter

There are just a few causes that “Starburned and Unkissed” stands out in opposition to the I Noticed the TV Glow soundtrack, which is replete with not solely beloved mainstays like Damaged Social Scene’s “Anthems For A Seventeen-Yr Outdated Woman” in addition to different unique songs from luminaries like Phoebe Bridgers and Hop Alongside’s Frances Quinlan. If cornered, I might say essentially the most good factor about “Starburned and Unkissed,” its best energy, is that it is just a bit too gradual.

Each notice stretches and yearns with the impatience of adolescence, verges on operating out of air, of snapping in two. Very similar to the scene of the totally and equally good I Noticed the TV Glow it was written for, it captures the sleepy anxiousness of a too-warm highschool, overcrowded and isolating. The heaviness of its crushing guitars ebbs and flows unsteadily, mimicking the experimentation of callow palms. (It takes the second strive on the refrain for the drums and guitars to all are available on cue.)

It is unstable, hopeful. Caroline’s voice — gently mangled by intentional autotune pitch shifts — falls out of key within the track’s previous few refrains, threatening to derail the dreamy fantastic thing about the previous three minutes. It ends abruptly, begging for one more pay attention, one other return to a time that may’t be recaptured.

“Lover’s Spit Performs within the Background,” Claire Rousay — Rousay’s sentiment is an ideal album for studying outdoors on an overcast day. I am undecided I can decide a standout monitor, because the expertise is de facto in letting the entire thing wash over you, however this one’s shut sufficient.

“Stickers of Brian,” Scorching Mulligan — Traditional pop punk material (“my job sucks and I hate everybody”) however my god what an earworm.

“On Model,” Ekko Astral — Ranges of snottiness beforehand thought-about unachievable. Exhausting to not love what a phenomenal mess these people make.

“Cometh the Storm,” Excessive on Hearth — Most of Excessive on Hearth’s 20+ years of output appears like — and lyrically might be about — an axe-wielding barbarian ripping a bong, or no matter different D&D nonsense they’re as much as. (I say this lovingly. I am keen on Excessive on Hearth.) The title monitor off the brand new one is… unusually dirge-like? At first it felt very “previous band exhibiting their age” however it’s grown on me as an intentional and welcome change. They are not off the hook for utilizing AI for the “Burning Down” music video although. C’mon guys.

Avery Ellis, Deputy Editor, Experiences





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